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Sugar’s Long Lasting Impact on Your Health

Sugar may taste sweet, but the long-lasting impact it leaves on your health is not. Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to increased risk of developing stroke, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood cholesterol and cavities.

Many foods in American diets contain added sugars. Added sugars are present in candy, soft drinks, cakes, fruit drinks, milk products, cookies and pies, as well as other types of foods such as dairy and milk products and other grains. It isn’t always easy to tell if a product has added sugar. Read the ingredient labels on products you are purchasing and familiarize yourself with the additional names sugar is listed under, like dextrose, fructose and maltose.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 100 calories per day for women and no more than 150 calories per day for men. Over the past 30 years, Americans have consumed more and more added sugars in their diets, contributing to the obesity epidemic. It’s important to reduce the amount of added sugars you consume to not only maintain a healthy weight, but also reduce your risk of developing major health conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends reducing your consumption of the following to watch out for added sugars:

- Sugary drinks

- Sweetened breakfasts

- Syrups and sweets

- Frozen treats

- Sweet baked goods

They also share some ways you can avoid them:

- Always check nutrition facts label and ingredients

- Limit sugary drinks and foods

- Replace candy and desserts with naturally sweet fruit

- Make items at home with less added sugars

While it may not be realistic for you to cut out all sugar all at once, there are simple steps you can take to limit your consumption. The American Heart Association recommends swaps like using extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange or lemon rather than adding sugar in recipes. You can also use spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice to flavor and enhance foods instead of sugar.

If you have concerns about the amount of sugar in your diet, schedule an appointment with a physician by calling 903-596-DOCS.